Chinkyhomo is a digital media initiative by Kumam Davidson and Pavel Salgolsem from northeastern queers living n New Delhi.
The idea was to help and represent the North-East queer community.
Northeast is a complex entity very much at the periphery of the country; geographically and otherwise. This peripheral identity is an issue the region and its people continue to grapple with, both within the region and in the rest of the country.
Over the years, Queer movements have drastically changed, because of various platforms that uplift self-expression and support the community.
Even then, there are many who are yet to a multitude of experiences and identities other than upper-class/caste urban narratives.
According to Davidson – “The subjectivity and experience of northeast queer is one which is hardly understood, discussed or represented in queer spaces, queer movements, and media in general. There is clearly an inherent racial undertone to it, but also regional, class, linguistic, cultural, etc though the race is the most obvious feature.”
Building on the same thought, Salgolsem says, “Often the power doesn’t lie on our hands as we again belong to one of the most underdeveloped parts of the country. With the power not in our hand, we have no choice but to conform to the existing dynamics and try and figure what’s best for the self in the bound of what is given to us.”
After a lot of brainstorming, the two came up with an idea: which is “The Chinky Homo Project”.
Davidson speaks about northeastern queer in Delhi through social media with the username “Chinkyhomo”.
He started blogging with the same user name which caught the attention of the Northeast people living in Delhi. After just the initial few posts on his Insta blog, Davidson knew he was gaining a lot of interaction.
This led to the start of the Chinkyhomo project. Salgolsem says the intention is not to offend anyone but to appeal to the popular imagination and initiate a fruitful change from that.
The initiative was to bring out the experiences of the northeast queer community, who are fairly popular.
North-Eastern issues and concerns are hardly popular in the Country. The power doesn’t belong to the people because of the under-development in the region.
“The Chinkyhomo Project”:
A growing community of individuals that ensure that the voices and nuances of the North Eastern Queer community are given as much importance in the mainstream as the mainland voices are.
Under the project, the two are collecting testimonials and experiences of people, creating peer support for queer migrants from the Northeast.
We encountered many people coming out with their stories and hence bringing out the diversity of ideas, thoughts and preferred way of life of the chinky homos.
Once liberated from the bound of stereotype, we might not need the two words anymore. Each will be treated as human and on judged personality and ability rather than ethnicity and cultural background.
1.The Invisible Life of a Transman and his community in Manipur:
The scariest of thoughts haunt us; who will look after us when we are in death bed in the future. Given the scarcity of choices and means, we sincerely wish to convey to the society that we will take up whatever works we can get hold of, without being choosy or difficult about it. Because choice when it comes to livelihood is still a luxury many of us can’t afford at the moment.
2. Escaping Home and Moving to a New City was Coming Out for me, by Jared Masser:
One thing about being a queer in northeast India is the peculiar nature of this coming out process. Because our parents are still neck-deep in the muddy slime of bigotry and prejudice, we are forced to substitute the closet for something else. For us, coming out is not necessary. Living in big cities, partying and sex offer a sort of escape from the suffocating atmosphere of the home. Hence, our coming out of the closet is the free life that we are living which no one at home needs to know.
3. My story as a Transman in Manipur, by Josh Ningthoujam:
Every time I mentioned about death, my girlfriend told me, “I don’t like that word and I never consider you as a transman. Deep in my heart, I idolize you as a real man, so don’t be disheartened, instead be courageous, and strive to be not lesser than anyone.”
The Project seeks to explore, discuss and inform people about the lives of the queer people of the North East. Also, record archive testimonies, print-based expressions of the queer communities who belong from regions that have no support from families.
This Project hopes to impact a change and bring growth in all directions, both medium wise as well as linguistically.
The availability of more resources, visual arts like photography, videography and other artworks on queer issues are under discussion for a while.
Giving a wider representation and readership across the globe is another goal of the Project.